On the scene. NASA’s new robotic Mars explorer, the Perseverance rover.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

A House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee hearing on April 29th was entitled: “What do Scientists Hope to Learn from NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover?

 

 

Witnesses:

Dr. Michael A. Meyer, Lead Scientist, Mars Exploration Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

https://republicans-science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/2021-04-29%20Testimony%20Meyer.pdf

Dr. Bethany L. Ehlmann, Professor of Planetary Science and Associate Director of the Keck Institute for Space Studies, California Institute of Technology; President, The Planetary Society; Co-Investigator, Mars 2020 Perseverance mission

https://republicans-science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/2021-04-29%20Testimony%20Ehlmann.pdf

Dr. Luther Beegle, Principal Investigator of the Mars Perseverance Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC) Instrument, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

https://republicans-science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/2021-04-29%20Testimony%20Beegle.pdf

Dr. Tanja Bosak, Returned Sample Science Co-Lead, Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover; Professor and Lead of the Option in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

https://republicans-science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/2021-04-29%20Testimony%20Bosak.pdf

Opening statements 

https://republicans-science.house.gov/news/opening-statements/ranking-member-babin-opening-statement-space-and-aeronautics-subcommittee

https://republicans-science.house.gov/news/opening-statements/ranking-member-frank-lucas-opening-statement-space-and-aeronautics

Video of the hearing is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNsv7Lgyxh0

One Response to “NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover: What Do Scientists Hope to Learn?”

  • I suppose the fix is in with regard to NASA’s Mars Sample Return plans to return samples directly to the Earth and this video conference hosted by the SUBCOMMITTEE ON SPACE AND AERONAUTICS broadcast on C-SPAN on THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021 proves it. The hour and forty minute video of the conference is now on YouTube at:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNsv7Lgyxh0

    The title to the conference “NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover: What Do Scientists Hope to Learn?” should be renamed “What Do Scientists Hope To Conceal?” Not one word about the twin 1976 Viking Lander search for evidence for life on Mars is mentioned along with data suggesting that the two Viking Lander Labeled Release Experiments (separated by 4,000 kilometres on Mars) found strong evidence for extant microbial metabolism taking place. Organic analyses from NASA’s Curiosity rover still operating in Gale crater support the Labeled Release findings but this is being swept under the table in an effort by NASA hoping to sway the public into thinking that a direct Earth return Mars Sample Return mission is safe. A direct Earth return Mars Sample Return mission will be in direct violation of Article 9 of the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty .

    In this travesty of a science conference (because it completely avoids the Viking Lander biology results) the NASA participants joyfully explain the role Perseverance will play in the first part of the MSR mission by gathering cached samples for eventual return to Earth. At 32 minutes and seven seconds into the video a map of Mars is shown depicting the various NASA landings sites on Mars but deliberately does not show the Viking Lander sites. Why not inquiring minds want to know? Then we are treated to pre-selected questions by members of the press – none of which ask important questions about the data from the Viking LR biology results and their possible implication of sending Martian soil samples directly to Earth.

    For those unfamiliar with Article 9 of the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty (signed and ratified by all space faring nations) it plainly states:

    “In the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, States Parties to the Treaty shall be guided by the principle of co-operation and mutual assistance and shall conduct all their activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, with due regard to the corresponding interests of all other States Parties to the Treaty. States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter and, where necessary, shall adopt appropriate measures for this purpose. If a State Party to the Treaty has reason to believe that an activity or experiment planned by it or its nationals in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, would cause potentially harmful interference with activities of other States Parties in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, it shall undertake appropriate international consultations before proceeding with any such activity or experiment. A State Party to the Treaty which has reason to believe that an activity or experiment planned by another State Party in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, would cause potentially harmful interference with activities in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, may request consultation concerning the activity or experiment.”

    Now is the time members of the planetary science community need to speak out and ask why the Viking Lander biology results are no longer part of the MSR equation?

    Sincerely,

    Barry E. DiGregorio – Director for ICAMSR
    http://www.icamsr.org

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